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Doan's latest issue

I guess it will not shock anybody what FCW's Buzz of the Week will be this week. With Lurita Doan's latest problems, it seems pretty obvious.

There are a few interesting things going on here.

The first is that the ambient noise surrounding this situation has become fairly high. People have started to tune it out in an attempt to get their work done.

Even if that, the developments this week certainly seemed to cause people to pay attention. The report by the Office of Special Council is just a fascinating read. Unlike the earlier report by the GSA IG focusing on the $20,000 contract Doan sought to award to a friend and which was never awarded. That report seemed more… well, frankly, a bit unsubstantial. This report did some real investigating.

And one of the most interesting witnesses for the prosecution is Doan's BlackBerry.

Doan has said that she didn't pay much attention during the briefing because she was on her BlackBerry. The special council sought to corroborate the BlackBerry distractions, yet when investigators reviewed Doan's personal and government e-mails during the post-lunch meeting, there was no evidence that Doan would have been particularly distracted.

"The documentation establishes that Ms. Doan received nine e-mail messages to her private e-mail account on Jan. 26, 2007, with the latest one received at 1:08 p.m.," the report states. The meeting took place between 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. "The documentation Ms. Doan provided concerning her private e-mail account did not establish that she sent, read, composed, deleted or moved any messages during the January meeting."

Unfortunately this situation is a real distraction to GSA. And Doan has missed many opportunities to move on. Rather then seeking to resolve the problem, it is almost as if she wants to fight.

Anybody can certainly understand that, but... fight the good fight. If anybody looks at the slides that were presented at that meeting, it is difficult to see how one can say that it was not a political meeting.

On Thursday, her attorney, Michael J. Nardotti, Jr., sent a testy letter to Scott Block, the special council. Nardotti expressed "utter outrage" that the report made its way into the hands of reporters. (An aside and to be fair, Federal Times managed to get the report first. Kudos to them.They gave no indication as to where they got it, but, to be honest, I'd be surprised if it came from the Office of the Special Council. I have absolutely no inside knowledge on this, but… I'd be surprised.)

It may be a shroud legal argument – Nardotti argued that the report should be withdrawn altogether because it was prematurely – but it is not really an argument that wins in the court of public opinion, which is where Doan (and GSA) are going to be judged. When it comes right down to it, I don't think people really care that information gets leaked. They care if the information is correct… and what it means. They care about the facts.

She has this week to respond to the report... unless that is her response.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on May 27, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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